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This is the fifteenth of a series of articles on how to practise yoga in consultation with Ayurvedic and Yoga Consultant Dr. Pushpika Attanayake.

This week’s discussion on utilizing the benefits of yoga for thyroid problems continues from the previous week. Beginners should consult a yoga specialist before practicing yoga postures.
“Yoga have proven effective results for thyroid disease related symptoms. Various stretching, twisting and compressing Asanas stimulate the thyroid gland, increase blood supply and effectively removes toxins from the gland enhancing the normal functioning of the gland,” says Dr Attanayake.

Sarvangasana
According to Dr Attanayake, this is the most important pose to stimulate the thyroid gland.
Steps

1. Lie on the ground, with the arms stretched above the head.

2. Raise both legs together slowly, without bending at knees to form a 45 degree angle with the ground.

3. Then, raise legs up to 90 degrees.

4. Now raise the buttocks and the trunk, taking support of arms and elbows. Do not lift the head. Rest the elbows on the ground firmly and support the back with both the palms. Straighten the trunk with the hands till the chin is well set. Bring the legs parallel to the ground.

5. Keep the body erect, stretching it up vertically, supporting on the shoulders. Do not stress. Hold the position up to three minutes. Avoid jerks and keep the head on the ground.

6. Return to 1 through 5 to 2.

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Matsyasana
This asana stretches the neck area and balances the Vishuddhi Chakra. Hence regulate the function of thyroid gland.
Steps
1.     Sit on the blanket with the legs stretched out.

2.     Bend the right leg and place it on the left thigh.

3.     Place the left leg on the right thigh. Now you are sitting in Padmasana.

4.    Bend backwards by first supporting the body by right elbow and then the left elbow and resting the head on the ground. The palms should be above the shoulders, shoulders should be on either side of the head and fingers should point to the shoulders.

5.     Taking the weight on the palms, lift the head and chest off the ground. Bring the center of the crown of the head to the ground by bending the dorsal and cervical spine backwards. Remove the hands after the weight is balanced on the head. Hold the big toes by hooking the index fingers around them. Hold the position for two minutes.

6.     Return to 1 through 4 to 2

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Dhanurasana
This pose stimulates the gland effectively and promotes normal function.
Steps
1. Lie flat on the floor facing downwards.

2. Bend the legs at the knees and bring the heels as close as possible, towards back.

3. Reach back and grasp the ankles of each leg.

4. Hold the feet together so that big toes are in contact.

5. Place your chin on the ground. Relax your whole body.

6. Then, breathe out deeply while on the ground. Follow by breathing in deeply and raising head, chest and thighs simultaneously. Your spine should be arched back-like a bow while the body weight is supported by the abdomen. Hold the position for about half a second, while breathing normally.

7. Slowly relax the muscles and return to the starting position.

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Ushtrasana
This Asana stretches the neck and opens up the thyroid gland. It balances the Vishuddhi Chakra which is situated in the neck area stimulating and balancing the function of the gland.
Steps
1.     Kneel on the floor

2.     Adjust the knees and feet so that they are hip-width apart. Feet should rest on the ground. In the starting position, thighs, trunk and head should all be vertical. Hands should be placed on either side of the back.

3.     Lean backwards slightly. Simultaneously, turn to the right side and grasp the right heel with the right hand. Be gentle and support the back.

4.     Straighten the arm, allowing the arm to support the weight of the body.

5.     Then square the body and grasp the other heel with the left hand. Be very careful not to hurry the movements since this can damage the back muscles. Allow the head to hang backwards.

6.     By utilizing the muscles of the back, gently push the thighs, pelvis and abdomen forward. Be careful not to strain. The weight of the whole body should be supported at the knees.

7.     Remain in the position for two minutes or for as long as comfortable.

8.     Return carefully to the initial position with gentle movements.

9.     Repeat one more time.

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